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Behind closed door vote means Meole Brace pitch & putt could be sold

By Dominic Robertson | Meole Brace | Politics | Published:

The possible sale of a pitch & putt golf course has moved a step closer after councillors backed the decision.

Shropshire Council can proceed with starting the process of selling Meole Brace Pitch & Putt in Shrewsbury following a behind-closed-doors vote at Thursday's meeting of full council.

The vote supported another behind-closed-doors decision taken by the authority's cabinet earlier this year.

Because any potential transaction would involve a sum of more than £1 million the council's cabinet needed the permission of the full council before it could start the process of selling the site.

There is a further complication in any move to sell the pitch & putt, which is next to Meole Brace Golf Club, with the facility being registered as an "asset of community value".

Because of that, any sale can only proceed after the group which registered the asset has been given six weeks to decide if it wishes to buy the site.

If it wishes to buy the pitch & putt the group would then be given six months to complete the purchase.

Shropshire Council consulted on the future of the pitch & putt last year, stating that its preferred option was to sell the 3.95 acre site.

At the time a report from Tim Smith, the council's head of business enterprise and commercial services, said that the number of people using the pitch & putt had fallen in recent years.

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It stated: "The overall usage of the facility is down by 1,000 visits in the last four years, from a peak of 2,590 in 2011. The area of the course is well located in terms of physical infrastructure and accessibility being adjacent to the inner ring road and the Meole Brace roundabout which serves one of the major routes into the Shrewsbury town centre."

Mr Smith's report also indicated that the pitch & putt could make a "significant" amount of money for the council.

It stated: "There is potential for an alternative use on the site which could generate a significant capital receipt should it be declared surplus to the council's requirements."

The report had also highlighted the possibility of the council continuing to operate and subsidise the facility - but said it would require extra investment.

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It stated: "It is considered that within this option, investment will be required in both improving the facility and in better promoting it to local residents. This option would not necessarily preclude any alternative ownership or management arrangements being considered in the future."

However, the cabinet has never publicly stated if it wishes to proceed with the preferred option.

The latest development means that the facility could be sold, and would raise more than £1 million.

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